July 31, 2002

The Fortress of Louisburg (Louisbourg, Nova Scotia)

6x7 cm film

Fortress Louisburg, on the eastern coast of Cape Breton, is not really a fort, but a restoration of one. Destroyed by the British and New England colonists in the 1700's, Louisburg was reconstructed in the 1960's by the Canadian Government as a living heritage museum. My visit to the fort was as much a vacation event as it was a photographic one, but never one to pass up an opportunity to make images, I brought along the Mamiya RB and a tripod, to make images as we explored the extensive museum.
6x7 cm film
One aspect of working in such a "touristy" space was all the people; usually I work in less populated area - even the American Forts I photograph are relatively unpopulated, but at Fortress Louisburg, people were everywhere. This didn't influence how much I photograph, but it did limit to a degree what I could photograph, as I had to keep to subjects that attracted less attention This wasn't a real problem, as it was mainly the small architectural details that drew my eye, but all the same, it was a very different thing, photographing with so many other people around.
6x7 cm film
Probably the greatest frustration of the day was also the greatest success - the Mamiya RB. The camera was a resounding success because it facilitated my walking and photographing for over six hours without growing tired (the camera, lenses, film and tripod weighed less then 30 lbs) and yet there was still a frustration. For more then a decade, I've been using view cameras to photograph architecture, and as a results, the flexibilities of the large format cameras have become second nature. The camera movements that are so easy to accomplish with a view camera were difficult to do without on this day, and as much as I enjoyed the freedom to walk around and photograph at will, I looked forward to later in the day when I would return to working with the 8"x10" camera.

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